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Hendy Woods, Dalika square off in Sunday’s Mint Julep

By Churchill Downs publicity department (Coady Photography photo of Hendy Woods in last September’s $400,000 One Dreamer at Kentucky Downs)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, June 3, 2022)Stonestreet Stables’ two-time stakes winner Hendy Woods was made the 3-1 morning line favorite in a wide-open cast of 10 fillies and mares that entered Sunday’s $200,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

          Trained by Mark Casse, Hendy Woods finished fourth in last year’s Mint Julep. The homebred daughter of Uncle Mo has five-lifetime victories to her résumé from 13 starts with stakes wins in the $150,000 Indiana Grand Stakes in 2020 and last year’s $400,000 One Dreamer at Kentucky Downs.

          “She had a break after the (Oct. 9) First Lady and came back to Fair Grounds with us this winter,” Casse’s local assistant David Carroll said. “I thought she ran a credible race in the Modesty (GIII) last out after a tough trip and is coming into this race in the third start from that break.”

          Another mare that will enter the Mint Julep off a freshening is Bal Mar Equine’s multiple stakes winner Dalika (GER). The Al Stall Jr. trainee arrived back at his Churchill Downs barn Thursday after doing most of her preparation toward her 6-year-old bow at Skylight Training Center, located in Goshen, Ky.

          “The break sort of seemed like it took the edge off of her a bit,” Stall said. “She seemed to have enjoyed herself and it took a little longer getting her back into race shape. I think this spot is a good return.”

          Here’s the complete field for the Old Forester Mint Julep from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Petricor (GB) (Florent Geroux, Bill Mott, 8-1); Market Rumor (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes, 8-1); Waliyak (FR) (Joe Talamo, Ed Vaughan, 8-1); Keeper of Time (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh, 6-1); Lake Lucerne (Julien Leparoux, Brendan Walsh, 8-1); Dalika (GER) (Ricardo Santana Jr., Stall, 9-2); Gam’s Mission (Adam Beschizza, Cherie DeVaux, 5-1); Ambassador Luna (Rafael Bejarano, Ben Colebrook, 20-1); Hendy Woods (Brian Hernandez Jr., Casse, 3-1); and Take Charge Ro (James Graham, Brian Lynch, 12-1).

The Mint Julep, run at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will go as Race 9 of 10 with a post time of 4:55 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 12:45 p.m. Turf racing Saturday and Sunday at Churchill Downs will be conducted in Lane 1.

Wagering for Sunday’s Mint Julep Stakes and every race from Churchill Downs is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby.

COHEN HARD AT WORK ON CHURCHILL DOWNS BACKSTRETCH – Veteran rider David Cohen has been very active in the recent mornings on the backside of Churchill Downs working several horses for outfits such as Whit Beckman, Robertino Diodoro, D. Wayne Lukas and Dallas Stewart.

          “I decided to stay at Oaklawn until the end so it was a little slow to get going at Churchill since I missed Keeneland,” said Cohen, who was inducted in the 2021-22 class of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. “We’ve started to pick up business the last week or so and things are moving again. I just have to keep working hard and grinding away.”

          Cohen is one of only a few Jewish jockeys in the country. One of the most notable is Walter Blum, who was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and won the 1971 Belmont Stakes aboard Pass Catcher.

          In 2014, Cohen suffered a fractured leg which set him back several years until his fulltime return in 2018. The 37-year-old jockey has ridden primarily in New York and the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. for the majority of his career but has found a new home on the Kentucky circuit under the representation of Doug Bredar.

          One of Cohen’s mounts Saturday is Grade I-placed Ava’s Grace in the $200,000 Shawnee Stakes at Churchill Downs. The two-time winning 4-year-old filly finished second in last year’s $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn and enters the race from a third-place finish in last month’s $750,000 La Troienne presented by Signify Health (GI). In both races she was defeated by Shawnee Stakes heavy 3-5 morning line favorite Pauline’s Pearl.

          “She seems to be coming into the race in good shape from the La Troienne,” Cohen said. “We’re excited about her chances.”

          The Shawnee Stakes will go as Race 7 on Saturday’s 11-race card dubbed as “Stephen Foster Preview Day.” First post is 12:45 p.m.

Here is the complete field for the Shawnee from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Temper Time (Ricardo Santana Jr., Dale Romans, 20-1); She’s All Wolfe (Francisco Arrieta, Donnie K. Von Hemel, 15-1); Ava’s Grace (Cohen, Robertino Diodoro, 7-2); Army Wife (Tyler Gaffalione, Mike Maker, 9-2); Pauline’s Pearl (Luis Saez, Steve Asmussen, 3-5); and Crazy Beautiful (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 6-1).

FIELDS FOR SATURDAY’S ‘STEPHEN FOSTER PREVIEW DAY – A six pack of stakes are on tap Saturday from Churchill Downs as part of “Stephen Foster Preview Day.” All six races will give horses a start to the July 2 Stephen Foster Day.

          Here are the fields for Saturday’s six stakes events from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

The $200,000 Arilington Stakes (GIII), a prep for the $350,000 Wise Dan (GII): Admission Office (John Velazquez, Brian Lynch, 3-1); Floriform (Tyler Gaffalione, Bill Mott, 4-1); Like the King (Luis Saez, Mark Casse, 12-1); Get Smokin (Javier Castellano, Casse, 3-1); Field Pass (Ricardo Santana Jr., Mike Maker, 5-2); and Gray’s Fable (Julien Leparoux, Lynch, 7-2).

The $200,000 Regret (GIII), a prep for the $200,000 Tepin: Walkathon (Juline Leparoux, Ian Wilkes, 9-2); Beside Herself (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher, 2-1); McKulick (GB) (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown, 7-5); Kneesnhips (John Velazquez, Tom Amoss, 6-1); Lola Flo (James Graham, Lynn Cash, 30-1); and Candy Raid (Rafael Bejarano, Keith Desormeaux, 4-1).

The $200,000 Aristides (Listed), a prep for the $160,000 Kelly’s Landing: Bango (Tyler Gaffalione, Greg Foley, 4-1); Miles Ahead (Joe Talamo, Paul McGee, 9-2); Pyron (John Velazquez, Al Stall Jr., 12-1); Necker Island (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 4-1); Bob’s Edge (Adam Beschizza, Larry Jones, 3-1); Top Gunner (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz, 7-2); Jalen Journey (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 10-1); and Long Range Toddy (Luis Saez, Dallas Stewart, 12-1).

The $200,00 Blame (Listed), a prep for the $750,000 Stephen Foster (GII): Proxy (Luis Saez, Mike Stidham, 9-2); Super Stock (Corey Lanerie, Steve Asmussen, 12-1); Title Ready (John Velazquez, Dallas Stewart, 8-1); Militarist (Rafael Bejarano, Carlo Vaccarezza, 20-1); Dynamic One (Tyler Gaffalione, Todd Pletcher, 9-2); Scalding (Javier Castellano, Shug McGaughey, 5-2); Santos Dumont (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 20-1); and Americanrevolution (Florent Geroux, Todd Pletcher, 8-5).

The $200,000 Shawnee (Listed), a prep for the $350,000 Fleur de Lis (GII): Temper Time (Ricardo Santana Jr., Dale Romans, 20-1); She’s All Wolfe (Francisco Arrieta, Donnie K. Von Hemel, 15-1); Ava’s Grace (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro, 7-2); Army Wife (Tyler Gaffalione, Mike Maker, 9-2); Pauline’s Pearl (Luis Saez, Steve Asmussen, 3-5); and Crazy Beautiful (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 6-1).

The $200,000 Audubon, a prep for the $200,000 American Derby (Listed): Spin Wheel (Edgar Morales, Rusty Arnold II, 10-1); Grand Sonata (Tyler Gaffalione, Todd Pletcher, 7-2); Tallahatchiebridge (Florent Geroux, Saffie Joseph Jr., 10-1); Play Action Pass (Corey Lanerie, Robert Medina, 20-1); Kitodan (Gerardo Corrales, Eric Foster, 30-1); Red Run (Julien Leparoux, Steve Asmussen, 10-1); Smokin’ T (John Velazquez, Shug McGaughey II, 4-1); Summer Anthem (Javier Castellano, Mike Maker, 8-1): James Jones (Ricardo Santana Jr., Chad Brown, 9-2); Speaking Scout (Luis Saez, Graham Motion, 6-1); and Major General (Brian Hernandez Jr., Pletcher, 8-1).

SUNDAY IS FAMILY ADVENTURE DAY – Sunday is Family Adventure Day at Churchill Downs.

There will be more than 20 fun activities for kids under 12 in the Plaza, including stick horse races, a petting zoo, face painters, bounce houses, an obstacle course, corn hole, a bubble station and a video game truck. Also, there will be music from the Plaza Stage, and the Kona Ice Truck will be on hand. 

General admission is $9 and reserved seating is $12. Two children per paying adult may attend for free.

Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first of 10 races is 12:45 p.m.

For more information or tickets, visit www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.

CHURCHILL DOWNS LIVE AVAILABLE ON SMART TVs – The Churchill Downs LIVE app is available free of charge on streaming services such as Amazon, Apple TV and Roku. Fans can download the Churchill Downs LIVE app for full access to a free HD live stream of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal and three additional angles including the saddling paddock.

          Fans will get analysis each race day from expert handicapper/host Joe Kristufek who will be joined alongside Kaitlin Free, James Scully, Scott Shapiro and Brandon Stauble.

          Wagering is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official ADW of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby.

DOWN THE STRETCHJulien Leparoux was one win away from 1,000 victories at Churchill Downs. He had calls in Races 3, 6 and 8 Friday. … The jackpot for the 20-cent Derby City 6 continues to climb with a $75,323 carryover into racing Friday. The bet spans races 4-9. … Champion mare Letruska worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 Friday at Churchill Downs under jockey Giovanni Franco. The multiple Grade I winner is set to defend her title in the $500,000 Ogden Phipps (GI) on June 11 at Belmont Park. … The claim box was very active Thursday night with 16 horses claims out of a total 55 claim slips dropped. Through 20 days this meet, 149 horses were claimed for more than $4.5 million. … “Inside Churchill Downs” returns to the airwaves Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. Fans outside the Louisville area can listen to the one-hour broadcast on www.espnlouisville.com.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.